BC fall play cast reacts to the show

Joshua Fisher, Reporter

Bakersfield College performing arts director Bob Kempf directed Lillian Helman’s 1934 Play “The Children’s Hour,” which ran through Nov. 16-19. The twist was that the play was directed in the Black Box room between the indoor and outdoor theaters with audience members on every side of the stage, creating a new type of setting for the viewers.

Bakersfield College student and play attendee Anne Marie said that, “it was like the audience was part of the play, it made the play more wholesome. You could look at the audience members’ faces and see what their reaction was for the scene that was going on. The audience was sort of involved in the play.”

The theater tech class was responsible for building the set, which took a month and consisted of a stair-set-esque arena that hovered above the actors and actresses.

Behind the audience on each side was a backstage area with entrances to the stage on each side of the room. Kempf said, “The setup makes for a much more intimate play.”

The play itself is a drama set in an all-girls boarding school run by two women: Karen Wright (Alyssa Galvez) and Martha Dobie (Shelbe McCain). One mischievous student by the name of Mary Tilford (Brittany Beaver) runs away from the school to avoid being sent back. She tells her grandmother that the two headmistresses are having a lesbian affair. The accusation ruins their boarding home and eventually Karen’s marriage with Dr. Joe Cardin (Ryan Lee).

Speaking with the cast before, there were some interesting views on how they related to the play and their own characters.

Brittany Beaver said that she and Mary Tilford are both alike it a lot of ways.

“They both have manipulative tendencies, and that Mary is a liar, and she was also a pretty big liar as a kid,” she said. “She’s also just childish, and I feel like I can connect with that side of myself.”

Beaver said that she has put a huge amount of time into getting ready for this play, at least 50-plus hours outside of practice. Beaver said her preferred style is to “go over my lines, I feel like when I play a character I kind of like just stay in that character for a while. And I’ll let that character come out in everyday life. That’s my way of staying in touch with my character.”

She said that she is going to be more involved with theater as this is only her second play, her first being this semester’s “A Midnight Summer’s Dream.”

“I love the theater department, the professors are amazing. I love it, I really do,” she said.

Blanca Trujillo plays Rosalie Wells in the play, a student from the boarding school who stays the night with Mary Tilford and is blackmailed into going along with her lie. Trujillo likes to practice with someone else.

“It’s really easier when you have someone to work with that can help you out,” Trujillo said. “Because it’s just like both of you in a group in character. You can figure out staging it’s just better for me.”

Sarah Alones, who played a boarding student, said “this play was like the Salem Witch Trials, in that the whole thing that was based off a lie started ruining people’s lives.” Actress Cheyenne Reyes, who plays Agatha’s maidservant, said that she thoroughly enjoys her character because she is the only character that doesn’t deal with Mary Tilford.

“She doesn’t like this little girl and I have an attitude toward this little girl the whole time.”

The viewers had very mixed reviews on what they saw, possibly because of the tone of the play, possibly because of the way that the stage was set. Viewer Matthew Nicks said one thing he likes about attending plays is that not all of the plays have happy endings. Nicks says that this is one of the best not-so-happy endings that he has ever seen executed and hopes BC will always perform to this degree. Conner Roe said that he “hated this play because it hurt him to watch it, but he’s happy he’s been introduced to the style.” One viewer, Paul Martinez, went twice and sat in two different areas and it was like watching two different plays.

“The first time I went because of a friend, and the second time I brought a date and when we picked a seat it was like watching a whole new play.”